The Ecological Farming Association (EFA) will bring together up to 1,500 organic and environmentally-conscious food producers at its 34th annual conference January 24-25th.
The EFA—founded in 1981—supports the development of just food systems by educating and building alliances between the various stakeholders within the food system. EcoFarm’s annual conference has brought together more than 75,000 sustainable agriculture advocates in the American West over the last 33 years.
EcoFarm 2014 will take place at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. The conference will offer organic and ecological farmers and ranchers, food handlers, researchers, activists, and governmental agencies opportunities to build alliances and to learn about the newest developments in ecological agricultural research and techniques.
The topics of the workshops will include: water and soil management, habitat restoration, livestock and range management, regional food systems, food and agriculture policies, and GMO labeling. A special workshop will focus on the Mexican Agroecology Movement and the importance of corn in the Southern American diet.
EcoFarm is offering fellowships for 27 “Farmer Fellows” to attend the conference free of charge.
The conference will also host the inaugural meetings for a newly established Farmer’s Association, which aims to obtain more competitive rates on products and insurance for meat producers.
Merrigan will be leading a panel featuring successful multigenerational organic businesses and discussions about how businesses can balance profitability with a commitment to social and environmental justice. Rodale will be presenting on the merits of organic over conventional agriculture using the results of the Rodale Institute’s 30-year farming system trials.
“Our mission is to encourage the growth of a healthy, ecologically sound and economically viable agricultural system,” said EcoFarm Executive Director Ken Dickerson in the Edible Monterey Bay. “This system of farming has reached sort of a critical mass and people understand its value, so the market continues to expand, but we try to help small and medium-sized farms overcome some of the hurdles they face in becoming successful.”